Irish Food Writers' Guild - Food Awards 2022

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2022

Irish Food Writers’ Guild FOOD AWARDS



IRISH FOOD WRITERS’ GUILD

Contents IRISH FOOD WRITERS’ GUILD FOOD AWARDS 2022

Letter from the President

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Letter from the Chair

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FOOD AWARD Bread 41 Buttermilk batch bread

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FOOD AWARD Calvey’s Achill Mountain Lamb Barbecued Achill Mountain mutton chops

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FOOD AWARD Coolfin from Kylemore Farmhouse Cheese Kylemore Farmhouse Cheese scones with Coolfin

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IRISH DRINK AWARD All About Kombucha Raspberry kombucha granita with live yoghurt and raspberries

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NOTABLE CONTRIBUTION TO IRISH FOOD AWARD Stefan Griesbach of Gannet Fishmongers Megrim on the bone with Aran seaweed butter

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ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD Rock Farm Slane Pork chops with cannellini beans

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COMMUNITY FOOD AWARD Our Table Aunt Monica’s crowd charming fried rice

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LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD Sally Ferns Barnes Sally’s smoked pollock with beet tartare

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IRISH FOOD WRITERS’ GUILD

Letter from the President WELCOME TO THE 2022 IRISH FOOD WRITERS’ GUILD FOOD AWARDS, BROUGHT TO YOU VIRTUALLY AGAIN THIS YEAR – BUT, FOLLOWING THE HUGE SUCCESS OF LAST YEAR’S LOVELY IFWG AWARDS E-ZINE – WE’RE DELIGHTED TO GO WITH THIS ENGAGING FORMAT AGAIN.

Yet, in addition to all of the very genuine silver linings that we found last year – and particularly that the pandemic had engendered a newfound public respect for quality local produce in what had previously been an almost totally price dominated retail market – the length of the pandemic, and perhaps the fact that COP26 ramped up the environmental conversation, has since encouraged more public debate about the long term future of food production. That has to be a very positive outcome and it underlines the important role that has long been played by people like our winners, of whom we are so proud. Coming from widely varied regions of the country this year, they represent long-established food traditions, innovation and the diversity of modern Ireland, but what they share is a vision for a better future for us all – and our planet – through sustainable food. As we emerge from a very dark couple of years, we are lost in admiration for our 2022 winners and hope you will enjoy reading about and eating their products for yourself as much as we have enjoyed the selection process - and we especially hope that the Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards will encourage more people to support local Irish producers on an ongoing basis. Very best wishes to you all, and stay safe.

Each year since 1993, the Guild has celebrated and promoted the work of small independent food producers, along with some larger but sustainably operated companies that lead by example, and also outstanding achievements by individuals who have helped to develop our food culture. It’s been a fascinating journey. From the outset, these awards have been fiercely independent - people, businesses and traditionally made or innovative Irish products of outstanding quality are nominated by members and voting is undertaken impeccably correctly by the proportional representation system. Many of the winners from the early years are still familiar names today, which speaks volumes for their enduring quality and sustainability. Guild members still love nothing better than to champion their favourite Irish food and drink products and to seek out new ones that deserve promotion. Notable challenges that have faced us all, and especially small producers, have included recessions and devastating events such as the foot and mouth disease outbreak in 2001. But Covid-19 is in a league of its own, not least because it has gone on for so long – who would have thought a year ago that we would still be unable to hold our Awards event with confidence in 2022?

Georgina Campbell President, Irish Food Writers’ Guild

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IRISH FOOD WRITERS’ GUILD

Letter from the Chair TRADITIONAL, BUT WITH A TWIST. MANY OF THE WINNERS OF OUR 2022 IRISH FOOD WRITERS’ GUILD AWARDS ARE TRADITIONAL PRODUCTS – BUT THEY HAVE ALSO VERY MUCH MOVED WITH THE TIMES.

Bread and cheese, mountain lamb, fresh fish and smoked salmon are all foods that have a long history in Ireland, but these award-winning producers are putting their own stamp on the products, making something unique, something of their place - and something delicious. Our Irish Drink Award plays with the traditional Irish love of tea, taking a detour into kobucha fermentation. We Irish are also well known for our conversation and what better way to start a conversation about direct provision than over food with our Community Award winner, a project that highlights injustice while empowering participants to find employment and bring their own traditions into the Irish food world. The recipient of our Lifetime Achievement Award started smoke-curing local fish in the 1970s and has stuck to her principles of traditional and sustainable food production, working always and only with wild fish. She is now the wise fish woman of West Cork, sharing her knowledge with new generations of students and food lovers. Good food comes from the land and the winners of our Environmental Award take this stewardship very seriously indeed with their focus on organic farming and sustainable travel in Slane. Indeed, this theme of sustainability runs through the work of all the award winners, from the organic wheat and

ancient Irish grains that are used at a Dublin bakery to the transformation of milk into artisan cheese on a rural mountain family farm in Co. Galway, the multigenerational business that endeavours to ensure the future viability of sheep farming on Achill and the work of a Frenchman who has introduced Irish people to a large variety of locally caught fresh fish. Once again, we would like to thank Bord Bia for their generous sponsorship. Their work in promoting and developing the Irish food industry goes hand in hand with what we do as food writers . Una Fitzgibbon, Director of Marketing and Communications at Bord Bia, said: “The Food Writers’ Guild have once again chosen an impressive line-up of winners, representing a variety of sectors, for this year’s awards. The winners really encapsulate the artistry, diversity, and integrity of Irish food production and gastronomy. We are fortunate to have a rich and evolving food culture in Ireland and these awards play an important role in celebrating the people who drive this thriving industry, locally and nationally. Congratulations to all those involved in making these awards happen and, of course, to the deserving winners.” For 2022 the IFWG has chosen eight Irish food and drink producers that take tradition and run with it, bringing delight and joy to our tables and we celebrate these people, our heroes, by eating their food.

Caroline Hennessy Chair, Irish Food Writers’ Guild

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Bread 41 FOOD AWARD BY JORDAN MOONEY

41 in 2018. Now, the Dublin 2 bakery is one of the city’s best-known and well-loved artisan companies. An organic bakery, the grain that is used in each loaf is freshly milled at the bakery every day. In Ireland over the past number of years there has been a serious movement towards the real bread that Cluskey is passionate about. Each loaf is traditionally made and fermented for a minimum of 24 hours, something that helps to create the air bubbles and tang that sourdough bread is known for. When the bakery first opened in 2018, the team was overwhelmed with the demand for its products, selling out in just 20 minutes . Now, with 44 staff members on board, the team at Bread 41 can produce hundreds of loaves of

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here has always been something symbolic about breaking bread. In my house, and at many houses across the world, bread is always the centrepiece. No matter where you go, there may not be meat and there may not be vegetables, but there will always be bread in some shape or form. Bread is a constant.” Growing up in a family of six, Eoin Cluskey remembers that there was always bread on his table. Although baking bread may not have been his original career path, it was always his calling. After initially training and working as a carpenter, Cluskey completed the Ballymaloe 12-week cookery course, then founded Bread

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THIS IS A TEAM AWARD. THERE ARE LOTS OF PEOPLE BEHIND THE SCENES HERE.

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BREAD 41

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BREAD 41

bread daily by hand, as well as several thousand of its bespoke pastries. Each loaf is made with sourdough starter and options include: the Glentie Malt loaf made with three malted organic grains and three varieties of soaked seeds; an oat porridge loaf made with whole rye and roasted oatmeal; the Shakelton 7 seed loaf, which is made with three different cereal grains and seven different seeds; as well as sourdough baguettes, a traditional family pan and a special of the week. Each perfectly unique loaf is sustainably made, with Cluskey committed to running a zero-waste, carbon neutral company. He has worked on eliminating packaging and the company’s bread van is a converted vintage milk float, ensuring there’s no green guilt associated with your daily bread. The bakery has built up quite a loyal fanbase; it’s not uncommon to see queues of eager punters lining the street ahead of its opening, especially at the weekend. Cluskey and the Bread 41 team are also well-known for their corporate social responsibility

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BREAD 41

and dedication to the local community. As well as keeping the locality fed, they gave out free sourdough starter during the lockdown and educated the country on sourdough baking as the long-fermented bread became the world’s new obsession. Cluskey has achieved near-perfection with his loaves. Although Bread 41 is based in Dublin, the bread is coveted around the country – fans of the brand have long called for outposts to be established around Ireland, so watch this space. bread41.ie

Buttermilk batch bread Recipe by Bread 41. Sometimes the simple things are the best. This is a really easy and really good bread that doesn’t take too long to make. It’s great eaten fresh and also makes delicious toast. MAKES 1 LOAF. 575g strong white flour 12g salt 12g fresh yeast 202g water 202g buttermilk

Mix the flour and salt in a clean bowl. Crumble the yeast into the flour, then add the water and buttermilk. Bring the dough together with your hands or with a spatula. Turn the dough out on a clean surface and knead for approximately 10 minutes. The dough should be soft and elastic. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel leave to prove for 90 minutes. Turn the proved dough out and knock it back. Divide the dough into four equal portions, approximately 450g each. Shape each portion of dough into a rough round and leave to rest for 20-30 minutes. Once the dough has rested, roll each portion of dough into a tight round and place onto your baking tray in a 2×2 pattern, allowing each portion of dough to just touch each other. Cover and allow to prove again for 60-90 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220˚C. Place a roasting tray into the base of the oven. When ready to bake, place the loaves into the oven and pour water from a boiling kettle into the hot roasting tray; this should release a blast of steam. Bake the loaves for about 35-40 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Remove from baking tray and cool on a wire rack.

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Calvey’s Achill Mountain Lamb FOOD AWARD BY GEORGINA CAMPBELL

late season Calvey’s of Achill salt marsh lamb, has a unique terroir-related flavour and texture which is similar to mountain lamb from other coastal areas, but with a special extra ingredient contributed by their specific location. Born in mid-summer, much later than lowland lambs, their Mayo Blackface mountain lambs graze salt marsh plants and herbs in the rare ‘machair’ habitat of the sandy seaside banks at Keel creating what the Calveys evocatively describe as its “heather-sweetened, seaside-seasoned taste”. But, while crucial, it is not just the habitat that makes this product special. The Calveys’ way of doing things is the complete opposite of most mainstream farming operations, particularly meat producers. The difference is that they have control of every stage of the production process.

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s an example of a farming family who have met the challenges of the pandemic with panache, the Calvey’s of Achill Island would take some beating. Their superb salt marsh lamb (the coveted ‘agneau de pré-salé’) has been even more widely enjoyed, thanks to the way they tweaked an already successful multi-generational enterprise to meet the new market demands. The Calveys have been sheep farmers on Achill Island for over a century and a half, always including several generations of the family working together. This has been the secret of their success in many ways, not least in adjusting to doing business differently during a pandemic. The most sought-after product, the

WE ARE ALL LOOKING FORWARD TO A NEW SEASON FOR 2022 – ONWARDS AND UPWARDS!

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C A LV E Y ’ S A C H I L L M O U N T A I N L A M B

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C A LV E Y ’ S A C H I L L M O U N T A I N L A M B

Critically, they have an on-site abattoir so - unlike most animals their lambs do not have the stress of travelling to a slaughterhouse but remain on their own territory and in the care of familiar people to the end. Calvey’s abattoir is the last on an island that once had two dozen, so the family is very conscious of its importance and determined to keep it going. The same hands-on care applies to the butchery at Calvey’s On-Farm Abattoir Butchers, and the wonderful meats sold at their recently upgraded and relaunched farm shop at Keel. This shop also sells other Irish artisan products, along with offering an excellent online service for nationwide delivery. Unusually, they also sell hogget (lamb over one year old) and mutton (over two years), both of which are excellent products that are not widely available. The Calvey family members currently involved with this ethically operated and admirably sustainable business are Martin and Angela, their daughters Martina, Gráinne (the butcher) and Helen who, with brothers Edward and Martin, look after the farming, the butchery, the sales, the administration and the marketing. And the next generation will soon be represented by Grainne’s son Peter, who is at college and looking forward to taking a part in the business. At a time of such rapid change in the world, in agriculture and towards responsible “less but better” shopping habits, products like Calvey’s Achill Mountain Lamb are not only exceptionally delicious and healthy, but also provide a role model for others - and assure a sustainable future for farming on Achill Island. calveysachillmountainlamb.ie

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Barbecued Achill Mountain mutton chops Recipe by Usha Faulkner via Helen Calvey.

This recipe was given to us by a dear friend and customer Usha Faulkner. A lover of genuine food she appreciates the dedication and work that goes into producing our wonderful product. Usha has been a customer of ours for over ten years and regularly travels over from Great Britain to bring our mutton back home, where she only shares it with the very best of friends. Reared in India, she put herself through college in England to become a consultant with the NHS. She is an excellent cook, very passionate about her spices. This recipe, which Usha learned from her mother, is one of her favourites. SERVES 4.

1 tsp red chilli powder 1½ tbsp tandoori masala 2 tbsp yoghurt 1 heaped tsp garlic paste 1 tsp lemon juice, or vinegar 1 tsp garam masala ½ teaspoon salt 8 Achill Mountain mutton chops Butter, for brushing Thinly sliced red onions and lemon wedges, to serve

Combine the chilli powder, tandoori masala, yoghurt, garlic paste, lemon juice, garam masala and salt in a large bowl. Mix well and tip in the lamb chops. Use your hands to coat the chops evenly in the mixture. Let the meat marinade for a minimum of 4 hours in the refrigerator. Cook on a charcoal barbecue, starting the chops on a hot area to sear the meat, then moving them to a cooler part of the barbecue to cook through. It will take 10-15 minutes on both sides for well cooked meat. Brush with a little butter to avoid the meat drying out.

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Coolfin cheese FOOD AWARD BY CAROLINE HENNESSY

her, cheese was a natural add on to what her family was already doing. “Farmers know how to produce good milk but then it goes off to the creamery. The cheese is key to bringing the story together. Coolfin is a premium product made on site with our own milk.” Making a hard mountain cheese made sense because of where the farm is located - like Swiss cheesemakers, her milk comes from high quality grass in a mountainous area with pristine waterways. Teresa wanted to make something unique that represented her home: Coolfin is the result of that ambition. By working with cheesemaker Reto Güntensxperger who developed the Appenzellerstyle Schnebelhorn in the Swiss Alps, Teresa learned how to make cheese. She brought that

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eresa Roche is an outlier. Producing an Alpine-style cheese named Coolfin at the foothills of the Slieve Aughty mountains in East Galway wasn’t initially on the cards for this former nurse but she’s taken on the challenge with gusto. Growing up on a busy family farm, there were always people coming through the door: her father Bertie - a winner of the Young Farmer of the Year in 1988 - facilitated a constant stream of farm tours to his pedigree Holstein British Friesian herd, while Julia, her mother, looked after younger visitors, with school and scout groups visiting to learn where milk came from. When Teresa returned home after travelling and living overseas, she had some new ideas to add to the mix. For

WHEN COVID HIT, DESTROYING TERESA’S REGULAR ROUTE TO MARKET, SHE OPENED A SHOP ON THE FARM SELLING HER CHEESE ALONGSIDE A CAREFULLY CHOSEN SELECTION OF LOCAL PRODUCTS.

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COOLFIN CHEESE

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COOLFIN CHEESE

knowledge back home to Galway, using her own milk to create something unique and rooted in place. Teresa also credits her neighbour, IFWG Award-winning cheesemaker Marion Roeleveld of Killeen, with helping her to develop the recipe for Coolfin. The cheese is handmade using only summer milk, is fully traceable and has a low carbon footprint due to being made on farm. It takes up to ten months to mature before it goes to customers, many of which are chefs and restaurants. No surprise there: Coolfin has a deliciously smooth texture with distinctively sweet, creamy and nutty

flavours and a lingering aftertaste. It’s a great choice for a cheeseboard and also melts well, bringing an extra layer of flavour to dishes like cheese fondue, quiche, added to scones or layered into a simple cheese toastie. As well as cheesemaking and running a successful farm shop on site, Teresa is a vocal advocate for rural farming, diversification and women in farming. Coolfin is the delicious farm to fork result of her sustainable ethos and her dedication to the land. kylemorefarmhousecheese.com

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COOLFIN CHEESE

Kylemore cheese scones with Coolfin Recipe by Gráinne Mullins. Gráinne Mullins is a chef and the founder of Grá Chocolates; she knows a good product when when she finds it, and she’s a fan of using Coolfin in her delicious cheese scones. The flavour and texture of Coolfin make it a wonderful cheese to cook with and these scones have been a big hit in the Kylemore farm shop, where Teresa says that there’s much more demand for the cheese version than plain scones. And rightly so too – it’s not so easy to find a scone that uses cheese of this quality. MAKES 12. 360g plain flour 1½ tsp baking powder ¼ tsp black pepper 80g salted butter, plus a little extra for the muffin tin 200g Coolfin from Kylemore Farmhouse Cheese, grated 1 egg 230g buttermilk Abernethy butter and GranGrans Foods’ red onion marmalade, to serve

Heat the oven to 150°C (130°C fan). Butter a muffin tin, or line a baking tray with a sheet of baking parchment. Sift the flour, baking powder and black pepper into a bowl, then sift again to make sure the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Add the butter to the bowl and combine with your fingertips to make breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the grated cheese into the breadcrumb mixture and rub together until evenly distributed. Try not to mix too much as the heat from your hands may start to melt the butter. Mix together the egg and buttermilk. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in enough of the buttermilk mixture to give a fairly soft but firm dough. Do not pour in all the liquid at once; you may not need it all to get the right consistency. Weigh the mixture into 120g pieces and roll into balls. Place them into the muffin tin. Alternatively, lightly flour a surface and roll out the dough to approximately 2cm thick. Cut out the scones with a medium cutter (about 8cm) then place on the lined baking tray. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Serve with a knob of butter.

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All About Kombucha FOOD AWARD BY CLIODHNA PRENDERGAST

and water. A Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY), which contains naturally occurring healthy acids, enzymes and probiotics, is used to ferment the tea mixture, ultimately creating a healthy beverage that is alive. A refreshing, sparkling drink, there is nothing quite like kombucha for quenching your thirst - its reported benefits for gut health is a bonus too. All About Kombucha is currently available in three core flavours: raspberry, ginger & lemon and carrot & turmeric, which can be found in over 250 stockists across the country and also purchased online. Emmett and Keith frequently work with chefs and restaurateurs to create new limited-edition variations. The most recent collaboration with fellow Galwegians The Dough Bros was a brilliantly successful strawberry, basil and black pepper ‘bouch.

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stablished in 2017 by two young entrepreneurs from Galway, All About Kombucha brews freshly fermented sparkling tea from organic ingredients. After graduating from business degrees at NUI Galway, Emmett Kerrigan and Keith Loftus emigrated to Vancouver, which is where they tried kombucha for the first time. When they returned to Ireland they struggled to find a worthy successor to their newfound favourite brew and All About Kombucha was born. It was an immediate success and has grown into a hugely successful business: they just expanded into their third premises, in Claregalway, in January 2022. There each bottle of All About Kombucha is hand-brewed and bottled from the organic ingredients of tea, sugar

THIS AWARD SHOWS WHERE OUR BUSINESS HAS COME FROM – AND WHERE IT’S GOING.

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A L L A B O U T KO M B U C H A

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A L L A B O U T KO M B U C H A

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A L L A B O U T KO M B U C H A

The success of All About Kombucha lies in the ethos and commitment of the founders. Emmett and Keith have a deep commitment to the value of their product, their community and the environment. Their sustainable brewing and transparent practises are rooted in five core company values: be sound, cause minimal harm, work hard, uncap creativity, and practice self-actualisation. They are a proud 1% for the Planet member and actively engage with two chosen local charities - HomeTree Charity and Burrenbeo Trust. Currently, 10% of All About’s net profits are donated locally and internationally to teams combating climate change and supporting the growth

of regenerative agriculture. The team is all about trying to connect their community of customers with the land, with the product, and with the cause. Another way they strive to do this is through their ‘Booch Bar’ - a zero waste, portable drinks bar with kombucha on tap - which has featured at food festivals and live music venues across Ireland. All About Kombucha’s thirst-quenching drinks and sound business sense surpasses all the eco credentials you could ever hope to see a young company embody while producing a product that is consistent and delicious. allaboutkombucha.ie

Raspberry kombucha granita with live yoghurt and raspberries Recipe by Cliodhna Prendergast This is the simplest of recipes for a light, gut boosting dessert. Any of the All About Kombucha flavours would be perfect for granita. I paired the delicate raspberry flavour with a live yoghurt and fresh raspberries which makes a delicious, digestion-friendly dessert. The All About Kombucha is very low in sugar so I sweetened the yoghurt a little but this can be done entirely to taste. A rather lively dessert. SERVES 2 1 x 330ml bottle of All About Kombucha raspberry kombucha

Pour the kombucha into a shallow freezer proof dish, roughly 15x20x4cm. Place in the freezer for about 1 hour or longer until frozen.

1 tsp caster sugar

Add the sugar to the yoghurt and mix through, then divide between two ramekins, or small glasses, suitable for serving. Place in the fridge until ready to serve.

4 tbsp thick live natural yoghurt, chilled

Just before serving, remove the kombucha from the freezer and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes at room temperature.

2 tbsp. fresh raspberries

Place the raspberries on top of the chilled yoghurt in each glass. Scrape the kombucha with a fork to make granita and share, fluffed up, between the two glasses, piling it gently on top of the raspberries.

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Stefan Griesbach of Gannet Fishmongers NOTABLE CONTRIBUTION TO IRISH FOOD AWARD BY KATIA VALADEAU

to go in search of it and that, in itself, is simply revolutionary. For an island nation, Ireland eats surprisingly little fish and through the development of his online platform, Stefan encourages and informs our choices when it comes to fish and seafood. Gannet Fishmongers deliver the freshest of Irish fish nationwide and it is wonderful to sit at your computer on a Monday morning and see what came in from the boats, order what your heart (and stomach) desires and receive it soon after that, cold-packed and spanking fresh straight to your own home. In 2017 after years of successfully supplying the best chefs and restaurants on the west coast, Stefan decided to work on his retail shop, markets and online sales. His online direct sales, in particular, have had a positive impact in many

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rom small acorns grow big trees, and so goes the story of Stefan Griesbach and his wonderful fish shop and markets. Stefan came to Ireland in 1997, having worked in fish shops in Paris, and started his business with a single stall outside Sheridan’s in Galway. Since then his stall has become much larger and well established, bringing people to the market every single week. What set Stefan apart from the start was his passion, knowledge and appetite for the amazing fish and seafood resources available in Irish waters. His local and seasonal approach is reflected in his website EatMoreFish.ie where the default offering is for Irish fish caught in the wild. If you want farmed or imported fish, you have

PRIORITY IS GIVEN TO A SUSTAINABLE, EAT THE WHOLE CATCH, LOCALLY SOURCED APPROACH.

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S T E FA N G R I E S B A C H O F G A N N E T F I S H M O N G E R S

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S T E FA N G R I E S B A C H O F G A N N E T F I S H M O N G E R S

households around the country throughout the pandemic. Ireland has a host of gloriously delicate fish in its waters and you can expect to see the likes of black sole, john dory, turbot, monk fish, wild trout and red mullet make weekly appearances on Stefan’s website.You will also find many delicious but lesser known species, such as wolf fish, grey mullet, wrasse, ling, coley and megrim, along with so many others. Priority is given to a sustainable, eat the whole catch, locally sourced approach. By building, developing and promoting his online platform, Stefan has ensured everyone across

the country has access to the fresh produce our seas and ocean can spare. The website is intelligent, user friendly and a useful tool for the busy, but conscious, cook as it both inspires and supplies quality, seasonal ingredients. Stefan has also recently launched a new project, fishtins.com, to bring more healthy and sustainable options to the Irish public. It’s wonderful to see Gannet Fishmongers having such a hugely positive impact on Ireland, its food culture and its relationship with fish and seafood. So do as Stefan says - eat more fish! eatmorefish.ie

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S T E FA N G R I E S B A C H O F G A N N E T F I S H M O N G E R S

Megrim on the bone with Aran seaweed butter Recipe by Stefan Griesbach. Not widely known in Ireland, megrim is a flatfish that has had many names: in Latin it is Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis; historically it’s been called fluke, sail fluke, whiff; the Irish name is scoilteán; a recent rebranding in the UK has seen it called Cornish sole. Most importantly, it is plentiful, sustainable - and can be delicious. Stefan cooks it simply, enhancing the flavour with good butter and a seaweed blend from Aran Island Seaweeds. SERVES 1 1 large megrim per serving, approximately 500-800g, or any other flat fish 2 tbsp plain flour

Chop off the fish head and trim the fins - or ask your fishmonger to do it for you. Spread the flour on a large plate and season with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Dip the fish in the flour and coat on both sides.

2 tbsp butter, divided

Add the rapeseed oil and 1 tbsp of butter to a nonstick pan and heat on medium high until bubbling. Carefully place the fish in the pan, remembering to always start cooking a flat fish on the thicker, darker coloured side.

1/2 teaspoon Aran Island Seaweeds seamix flakes

Cook for 4 minutes on medium high, then delicately flip the fish over and finish cooking for another 2-3 minutes, while regularly basting the top with the cooking juices.

Salt and pepper 1 tbsp rapeseed oil

Insert a knife in the thickest part of the fish to make sure it is cooked through, then remove from the pan.

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Rock Farm Slane Environmental Award BY PATRICK HANLON

or the integrity of the landscape. After all, why do tourists visit Ireland? The beautiful and unique landscape, for one, but also the desire to experience the warmth and hospitality of the locals through the mediums of food and culture. Offering a unique opportunity to experience the food, landscape and culture of the Boyne Valley region, Rock Farm Slane could well provide a blueprint for others to replicate across the land: Ireland experienced by visitors via its farms, hosted by pioneers passionate about protecting the land and preserving it for future generations through environmental practices. Since 2010, the 90-acre organic farm has been built on the principles of permaculture, and is home to a herd of Dexter cattle, Tamworth cross pigs, Bronze turkeys, free roaming hens

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ust over a decade ago, Carina and Alex Conyngham took a chance on an expanse of farmland known locally in Slane, Co. Meath as “The Rock”. Farmed for years by neighbours for barley and pasture, the Conynghams had visions of transforming the space. They wanted to create an intertwined organic farm and ecotourism business that would enable the local community, along with tourists from home and abroad, to engage in back-tonature experiences underpinned by sustainable and environmentally-conscious practices. Their dream: guests connecting with the land, enjoying the great outdoors and understanding the workings of an organic farm, without compromising on modern creature comforts

THE ECO-GLAMPING, SET IN A BEAUTIFUL WOODLAND GLADE, IS SURROUNDED BY A DESIGNATED NATURAL HERITAGE AREA AND SPECIAL AREA OF CONSERVATION, HOME TO IRISH HARES, HERONS, CORMORANTS AND EGRETS.

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and an ever-evolving vegetable offering, all overseen by farm manager Lucho Diez. On the ecotourism side, the Conynghams added luxury eco-glamping (yurts, bell tents and shepherds huts set in a beautiful woodland glade) in 2013, followed by a double occupancy Swallow’s Nest cabin and a six-bedroom anchor property Limehouse Ecolodge in 2015. Designed with the highest environmental construction standards, the Limehouse is built with their own barley straw and local clay for plaster, with a lime exterior. The building is stylistically sympathetic to its surrounds, a designated Natural Heritage Area and Special Area of Conservation, home to Irish hares, herons, cormorants and egrets. The Conynghams have just embarked on a conversion of 19 hectares of meadows, fen land and woodland to an extensively grazed wilding area with species-rich grassland, breeding wader and woodland habit. In terms of closing the loops on water, waste and energy on-site, there’s a grey

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water management plan, natural sewage systems and extensive composting practices in place. Eco-friendly products are used throughout, as well as a commitment to “leave no trace”. Aspects of what Rock Farm Slane have applied are now rolling out in various ways to other parts of the estate, including Slane Castle and Slane Distillery. Being an active part of the community is also central to the Rock Farm Slane story, which is part of various mutually beneficial local working groups such as Boyne Valley Flavours and Slane Food Circle, as well as being members of Sustainable Travel Ireland and Organic Trust. Creating a space to facilitate a community hub, the Rock Farm Slane barn was transformed in mid-2020 to become a space for the now-popular farmer’s market. It is held weekly on Thursdays and works as an outlet for their own produce, as well as other local producers, and is also a part of the vibrant Neighbourfood network.

Pork chops with cannellini beans Recipe by Tara Walker, with additions from Carina Conyngham. Carina likes to use Rock Farm Slane organic pork, apples, rosemary, sage and garlic cloves to make this simple dish and she credits chef and cookery teacher Tara Walker from the East Coast Cookery School “for showing me how to cook pork chops.” Tara says that “good quality pork will render a fair amount of fat when seared and this will mix with the deglazed wine to create an emulsion, which then will be flavoured with the herbs and mashed garlic.” 2 organic Rock Farm Slane pork chops, on the bone if possible Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper Newgrange rapeseed oil

A bunch of fresh sage, chopped 1-2 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole 1 lemon, halved

1 x 400g tin of cannellini beans or butter beans

2 apples, preferably Bramley or cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced

100ml white wine

A sprinkling of brown sugar

2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped

Rockfarmslane.ie

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Season meat on both sides and brush with oil. Rinse beans in a sieve or colander. Heat a heavy bottomed, ovenproof frying pan until very hot. Brown meat on all sides and remove to a warmed plate. Add wine to deglaze the pan, then add the rosemary, sage and garlic. Tip beans into the pan and return the pork with any juices. Squeeze lemon juice over the meat and leave the halves in the pan. Place pan in the oven and cook for 3 minutes, then turn the chops over, spoon the juices over the other side of the meat and return to the oven for a further 2 minutes. Remove from oven and let meat rest for at least 10 minutes. Before serving, mash the garlic with a fork in the pan to help it mix through the remaining juices. Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add apple slices, sprinkle with a little brown sugar, and fry until beginning to brown. Plate the beans with pork chops on top, cooked sliced apples on the side and the juices spooned over the meat. Serve with a locally sourced mixed salad or mixed orientals, all available at the Rock Farm Slane weekly farmer’s market.

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Our Table Community Food Award BY ALI DUNWORTH

attention to the realities of those living in Direct Provision. They began by running a series of pop-up activities aimed at generating awareness about conditions within the Direct Provision system, firstly opening a café in Project Arts Centre. This proved to be very successful and garnered them some much-needed press attention. They went on to run pop-ups and take part in events at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Christchurch Cathedral and at various festivals. The catering events and pop-up jobs had the added advantage of providing immigrants with employment and helping them to develop their culinary and hospitality skills. Our Table has continued to cater and run pop-up events, create nurturing and empathic spaces where people can learn

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e often talk of the power of connecting through food. The simple act of sharing a meal can bring people together and it’s exactly this philosophy that inspired Ellie Kisyombe and Michelle Darmody to set up Our Table in 2016. Malawian Ellie, a former asylum seeker, met café owner and food writer Michelle Darmody while doing volunteer work in the Irish Refugee Council. They bonded over food and their outrage at how deeply flawed the system of Direct Provision is, with Ellie having first hand experience of living through it herself. Together they set up Our Table, a community-based, social enterprise where they fixed on using food as a way to connect, start a conversation and draw

THIS IS FOR ALL OF US ASYLUM SEEKERS HERE IN IRELAND. IT MEANS A LOT.

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Aunt Monica’s crowd charming fried rice Recipe by Ellie Kisyombe.

skills, get paid a wage and gain knowledge of the Irish food industry. With so much upheaval in the hospitality industry over the last couple of years, the focus had to change. Still with food and cooking at the forefront, Our Table has switched to getting as much good, wholesome food to those living in emergency accommodation and Direct Provision Centres. On Christmas Day they fed over 350 people. They also delivered over 900 hampers, gift parcels and presents of kettles and toasters, thanks to some generous donors and plenty of hard work fundraising from the team. Our Table has also been working to build a network of food businesses and supporters willing to support the project in many ways. In 2021 Ellie brought Our Table to Taste of Dublin for a week, showcasing the great work they are doing and promoting the food businesses that have evolved from Our Table, including her own venture Ellie’s Kitchen. During lockdown in 2021 Ellie launched this new brand, making an African-inspired, Irishmade hot sauce range. She continues to make the sauces, with a percentage of every purchase donated back to Our Table. Our Table have joined forces with Nando’s for a pilot refugee integration program kicking off in 2022 and other plans include setting up a new kitchen that will be used for their many projects and ongoing training, cooking and mentoring. Ellie also continues to tirelessly promote and fundraise for Our Table and mentor other businesses set up by asylum seekers and refugees in Ireland.

Please allow me to introduce you to my Auntie Monica, Mrs Chitawo, who took care of me after I lost both my parents. I like to say that she had magic in her hands. She had many rice recipes for breakfast, savoury and dessert. She charmed the crowds by cooking up a storm at weddings, funerals, birthdays, Christmases and even presidential dinners. I believe that at least half of the citizens of Malawi’s capital city have been served one of her dishes. I hope you enjoy this recipe that Auntie Monica would make from time to time, and always with love. It is one of her best! MAKES 2½ CUPS. 1 tbsp olive oil 1 clove of garlic, sliced 1 cup jasmine rice 1½ cups water ½ cinnamon stick or ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/3 cup caramelised onions A pinch of salt

Get a nice clean round pan, place it on the fire (medium heat for cookers) and add the olive oil. Once the oil is heated, add garlic and turn it for a few minutes until golden brown. Toss the jasmine rice in the garlic oil for 2 to 3 minutes. Once the rice is fully incorporated into the fried garlic and olive oil, add the water and cinnamon stick. Place a lid on the pan. Once the water starts boiling the rice tends to get sticky so remember to gently stir - but make sure you don’t overdo it to avoid creating a risotto. After three to five minutes of stirring let it cook for at least ten more minutes, or until the water dries out. Add the caramelised onion and use a fork or a wooden spoon to toss it around, so the onions settle well into the rice. Let it simmer for two to three minutes. By that time the rice will be ready to serve. Now you can eat! You can enjoy this rice with anything: meat, fish, beans and any vegetables. The rice itself is vegan and can be eaten on its own.

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Visit us online W W W. I R I S H F O O DW R I T E R S G U I L D. I E


Sally Ferns Barnes LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD BY KATE RYAN

how I started to teach myself about smoking,” Sally recalls. By a convoluted turn of events, Sally acquired a kiln and taught herself how to use it. The ambition was to master cold smoked salmon to raise extra income at Christmas when fishing was lean. In the 40 years since she began smoking wild fish, Sally has acquired great knowledge on everything that links the ocean and its bounty, smoke curing and working with nature and natural processes. In her hands each regal fish is an individual. Sally reads their lithe and muscular bodies to reveal their story: where they came from, journeys undertaken, enduring cycles of smoltification from freshwater fish to saltwater

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ally Ferns Barnes is one of the original pioneer women of West Cork food, settling in that rugged land in the 1970s and going on to create delicious things of true artisanship that shine brightly in the firmament of Ireland’s most iconic foods. Since 1979 Sally has been perfecting the art of smoking wild Irish fish from her modest smokery perched atop a windy hill near Castletownshend in West Cork. It began with mackerel, a fish that was cheap and abundant. “I had a tea chest with a hole in the bottom where I put a little metal pan filled with wood shavings, lit the shavings, and hung the mackerel across the top of the tea chest with a wet sack over it. That’s

FORTY YEARS OF HARD WORK - AND I’M NOT DONE YET!

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fish and back again. “The salmon,” she says, “is a very smart creature indeed!” Of all the foods of Ireland, the salmon is the one that reaches farthest back into ancient folklore where man, fish, and landscape are as one. Like the magnificent salmon of Irish folklore, Sally is a modern day Fionn brimming with an excess of knowledge and driven to place as much of that knowledge in other people – inviting us to devour the salmon and receive all the knowledge of the world. The Keep, established adjacent to the smokery in 2020, is where that knowledge is shared

through masterclasses in the art of curing and smoking wild fish. Sally has also been working with the Italian -based Slow Food University of Gastronomy, taking in students as temporary interns, teaching them about fishy life, foraging, cooking and introducing them to Irish culture. Sally is the last person in Ireland that exclusively handles wild fish - not just salmon, but mackerel, pollock, haddock, and tuna are all transformed in her hands through the careful application of patience, time, a little salt, and gentle smoke.

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In 2021, Sally was included in the chapter on wild Atlantic salmon for Dan Saladino’s shuddering book, Eating to Extinction. Saladino quotes Sally as saying, “I feel like I’ve become a wild salmon myself, a creature swimming against the tide.” This is the essence of who Sally is, her craft, and her unique knowledge of the majestic wild salmon. She is a keystone in the age-old traditions of our Irish food culture. www.woodcocksmokery.com


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Sally’s Smoked Pollock with Beet Tartare Recipe by Caitlin Ruth. West Cork-based chef Caitlin Ruth likes to use nice, fresh raw beets for this recipe, and not to use the vac-packed, pre-cooked kind. There are two ways to cook them: baking whole or simmering whole, with the former being preferable. To bake the beets, scrub them, sprinkle with sea salt, wrap in tin foil and bake at 180˚C until very soft when pierced with a knife. To boil, cover with salted water and simmer until soft when pierced. If Sally’s smoked pollock is not available, her smoked haddock makes an admirable subsitute. SERVES 6 AS A STARTER. 600g roasted or boiled beetroot 3 small shallots, peeled and finely chopped 2 gherkins, very finely chopped Big handful of fresh dill and/or chives, finely chopped, a few reserved for garnish 40g small capers, rinsed and roughly chopped, a few reserved whole for garnish Juice of 1½ medium lemons Zest of ½ lemon 180ml best quality extra virgin olive oil 1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard or prepared horseradish 3 tbsp warm water Sea salt and black pepper to taste 150g Sally Barnes’ smoked pollock

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Begin by slipping the skins off of the beetroot, and use a sharp knife to chop the beetroot finely into equal, beautiful little cubes. This is the most time consuming part, so it’s worth spending some time getting the cubes as small as you can. Put the chopped beets into a small bowl, stir in the shallots, gherkins, herbs and most of the capers, and set aside. Make the dressing: put the lemon juice and zest, the olive oil, Dijon mustard and warm water into a jar and shake well. Season to taste. Pour three-quarters of the dressing over the beetroot mix, stir well and keep at room temperature until ready to serve. To serve: Slice the smoked pollock as thinly as you possible can. Divide the dressed beetroot mixture between six big starter plates and drape the smoked fish over the little piles of beetroot. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the pollock, sprinkle with reserved capers and chopped herbs. Serve with buttered sourdough.


The Irish Food Writers’ Guild A VOICE FOR BETTER EATING the Guild began as a support network for its food writer members, we are delighted that it has developed, through the annual IFWG Food Awards, to offer that support to the wider artisan Irish food industry. This is what we hope it will continue to do for years to come.

The Irish Food Writers’ Guild was formed in 1990 to promote high professional standards of knowledge and practice among writers about food, nutrition, food history and related matters and to assist in the formulation of links and networks among all involved in the food industry. The Guild was established by a dozen founding members, all of whom were working as freelance food writers at the time. They saw the formation of the Guild as an opportunity to pool their collective knowledge, experience and ideas. Membership is by invitation only to established food writers with an acknowledged and substantial corpus of work. The Guild currently has 60+ members. By the nature of their daily work, Guild members are in constant touch with food producers, food retailers, restaurateurs and other professional bodies in the industry throughout the country. Today the Guild enjoys close links with associations like Slow Food Ireland, Euro-Toques, the Irish food boards and other professional bodies in the food industry, both in Ireland and abroad. In 1993, the Guild decided to promote outstanding quality, craftsmanship and innovation in the production of food in Ireland. The annual IFWG Food Awards were our chosen vehicle. These are now widely acknowledged as the country’s most prestigious food awards. Given that

Our mission statement The Guild aims to support food writing excellence and integrity in food reporting; to highlight and influence food policy; and to create debate on sustainable and ethical food production. The Guild also aims to promote good food education across all levels of education and seeks to promote Irish food at home and abroad.

Where to find us The Guild is on Twitter at @foodguild. On Instagram, we’re @foodwritersguild. You can find the Irish Food Writers’ Guild on Facebook as well. Our website is irishfoodwritersguild.ie. Please help spread the word about our winners using the #IFWGfoodawards hash tag.

Thank you to Bord Bia The IFWG would like to acknowledge Bord Bia for their continued support of these awards and for their tireless work on the home and export markets to promote and develop the Irish food industry.

For more information please contact Rachel Sherry on 087 662 2111 or Rachel.sherry@grayling.com.

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EDITOR CAROLINE HENNESSY

CONTRIBUTORS JORDAN MOONEY GEORGINA CAMPBELL CAROLINE HENNESSY CLIODHNA PRENDERGAST KATIA VALADEAU PATRICK HANLON ALI DUNWORTH KATE RYAN

DESIGN JANE MATTHEWS JANEMATTHEWSDESIGN.COM

PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEOS PAUL SHERWOOD SHERWOOD.IE

COVER PHOTO CLIODHNA PRENDERGAST

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FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT RACHEL SHERRY on 087 662 2111 or Rachel.sherry@grayling.com.


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